Embracing Red: How To Use the Boldest Color

Embracing Red: How To Use the Boldest Color

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Nancy Mitchell
Feb 3, 2015
(Image credit: AD España)

Red is not a color for the faint of heart. In fact, it might be the biggest, baddest color out there. Here are some of our best tips for using red in ways that will add a little energy to your home — without being completely overwhelming.

(Image credit: Petits Papiers)

1. Use red as in accent in a mostly neutral room.
In the room up top, from AD España, judicious use of red warms up a mostly neutral-toned room. All the colors play very well together: the red adds a bit of interest and life, and the whites balance out the red and keep everything from being too jarring.

The living room above, from Petits Papiers, has a similar thing going on: the red Togo sofa really sings, but doesn't overwhelm the space.

(Image credit: Bestor Architecture)

This bathroom from Bestor Architectures hows how even a teeny bit of red can go a long way.

(Image credit: Vogue Living)

2. If you're planning on using red in big doses, pick a dark or unsaturated red.
This space from Vogue Living is very, very red — but a darker, more somber hue keeps it from feeling too much like a kindergarten.

(Image credit: Home DGSN)

In this space from Home DGSN, a not-quite-candy-apple red sofa reads as very sophisticated.

(Image credit: SF Girl by Bay)

3. Use red as part of an unexpected color pairing.
Conventional wisdom might deem that especially bold colors, like red, need shyer companions, but I've found that red makes a dynamic complement to equally strong colors (as long as both colors are balanced out with a healthy dose of white). The Paris apartment above, spotted on SF Girl by Bay, proves that the combo of red + green doesn't always have to scream Christmas.

(Image credit: The Selby)

Another favorite color combo? Pink and red (as seen on The Selby).

(Image credit: Dezeen)

4. Use red in a grouping of strong colors.
The living room above, from Dezeen, works because while all the colors are bold, only the red and the pink are really saturated, which keeps the room from looking like a box of crayons. All together, these hues function a bit like an ensemble cast — a bunch of talented players supporting each other, without any one stealing the show.

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